The Cottage Smallholder

stumbling self sufficiency in a small space

Duck pond drama

I‘m back. Broadcasting from Danny’s laptop. First of all a huge thank you for Danny taking up the blogging reins – I really enjoyed his posts and his meals and the endless cups of tea.

There is no photo as D’s laptop doesn’t have the upload software. So you have to just imagine these scenes. The best photos of course.

My slimline wide screen friend is waiting in A&E at the Newmarket Computer Company. She will be examined tomorrow and a prognosis delivered to my phone.

Hopefully she will be fixed by an outpatient procedure rather than an extensive operation and a session in Intensive Care waiting for parts.

I feel bereft without her. She is my best friend and confidante. So wise that she can point me to any fact that I need to know. With her beside me I keep up to date with the latest breaking news, the weather forecasts (vital if I’m working outside) and the joy of receiving and answering emails. Despite enjoying D’s posts but have missed writing my own. Suddenly dumb I longed to put fingertips to keyboard.

Danny has lent me his laptop for the time that it takes him to cook supper – fish pie, French beans and carrots. So it will be just this post and the answers to few urgent comments. Emails will be answered when my old pal recovers or is replaced. Many apologies.

I’ve finally finished (almost!) my work on the big estate. I’m now happily up a ladder in a nearby village where I used to live once upon a time, working on a lovely old cottage beside the village pond. I’ve been painting windows which reflect the pond view perfectly – with me wearing a sunhat and holding a brush in the foreground. Unlike The Lady of Shallot, I can turn and look at the real thing.

Yesterday, nine House Martins put on a spectacular air show for a good 20 minutes. Curling and swooping to snatch a glide through the water and catch the mosquitoes that dance just above the surface. A duck and two young daughters dived for fish, the strong ripples eventually combining into a mirrored surface when they hopped onto the bank and the sun. 

The panicky cry of a Moorhen drew my attention this afternoon. Four teeny fluffy babies had hatched and ventured into the middle of the pond. She called for several minutes until all four had returned reluctantly to the protection of the reeds. Then mother hen proceeded to swim up and down the large pond checking for predators, her head bobbing in time with her strong feet.

This evening there was a meeting beside the pond. I recognised some local County Councillors ( as a decorator I get to know local people). The rest of the group were probably Parish Councillors. There are plans to restore the pond to its former glory. When I lived in the village 20 years ago someone vandalised the clay lining of the pond and removed all the ducks one fateful night.

Let’s hope that they spotted the Moorhen babies and will allow them grow up before they start the work. I think that I’ll make a phone call just in case.

  Leave a reply


  1. Fiona Nevile

    Hi Wendy

    I made that call! There would also be loads of tadpoles and fledgling newts. Probably the best time to undertake that project is in September when everything has matured.

    Heelo Mary

    I’m feeling better. I hate being confined to bed. Thanks for dropping by.

    Hi Joanna

    Good to be back ?

    Hello Magic Cochin

    Danny enjoyed doing the blog and is now planning to write a regular spot.

    His spuds are towering over John Coe’s. But the earth is much better in his patch. John and I are planning a makeover of all the older beds. Lots of organic goodness is going to be dug in before we replant.

    Hi Linda

    Better the laptop dies than me!

    Hi Michelle in NZ

    Good to be back blogging again. I missed it as it’s a focus for the day.

    Hugs to both you and Zebbycat.

    Weather touch and go over here a bit showery at the moment more July rather than June weather.

    Hi Pamela

    Yes I was impressed with D too. He wrote his posts so quickly and enjoyed the comments 😉

    Still no news about my laptop. Perhaps tomorrow.

    Hello Chris

    I’ve never seen such young Moorhens. Absolutely enchanting and so independent.

    I love ponds they are always a constant source of amusement.

    Hello Toffeeapple

    Good to be back to. Thanks so much for leaving a comment.

  2. Toffeeapple

    So good to know that you are better, welcome back to blog-land. Great story, as usual. I hope your best friend is soon in the recovery suite waiting to be reunited with you.

  3. Great to have you back Fiona. And thank you Danny for keeping the ship afloat!
    So glad you are going to phone re: the moorhens, just in case. Very wise move!!! We had some hatch out on our pond a couple of years ago and I could not believe how tantalizingly seductive those tiny balls of black fluff were. Had I not known, I would have sworn they were mutant dandelion seeds wafting across from the fields, such was their diminutive size, these surreal balls of fluff. Ooh and the odd projection of a teeny little green stick which doubled as a leg.. or two! Adorable!
    I hope the said councillors listen to your call..

  4. Pamela

    Glad you are up and about again Fiona. I do hope your laptop does not prove to be terminally ill and will also rise to blog again. The wait for the prognosis must be almost as bad as waiting for a phone call from the vet about one of your precious pets. Danny did a great job in your absence.

  5. Michelle in NZ

    Lovely that you’re well enough to blog again. I send wellness thoughts to your laptop.

    I’m with Magic Chochin – spud reports from Danny please.

    What a beautiful spot you’re working in, hope the weather holds for you.

    Is very chilly here. Zebbycat is snuggled down in his very own Zebbynest of fluffy scarves waiting for his human hottie. AT least he is warming up my side of our bed.

    care and huggles,


  6. So glad you are well again, even if your laptop isn’t.

  7. magic cochin

    Great that your feeling better and are blogging again 🙂

    Danny did a fantastic job as the stand-in ‘Cottage Smallholder’ – perhaps he’ll do some spud-reports?

    Take care


  8. Joanna

    Good to have you back!

  9. Welcome back, Fiona. We missed you although Danny was great. Hope you are feeling better.

  10. Wonderful to have you back, we’ve all been worried and missing you. Hope you will soon be reunited with your computer. We enjoyed reading about your latest job and the wildlife – please make that call ……… x

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